For most people, Verona is the setting of one of the most famous love stories ever told - William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - making it one of the most popular holiday destinations for lovers and romantics. Shakespeare said, 'There is no world outside these walls...' and tourists will indeed feel like they are lost inside another world when they enter the gates of the historic city of Verona.
Ponte Pietra Bridge © Kosala Bandara
With beautiful red-tiled rooftops juxtaposed with leafy green trees and the sparkling Adige River that flows through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Verona is one of the most picturesque destinations in the country. Sadly though, much of the exquisite ancient architecture and ancient Roman monuments were destroyed by a powerful earthquake that rocked the city in 1117, which led to a massive Romanesque rebuilding (evident in structures like the ancient parish of San Giovanni in Valle).
Visit Juliet's house and balcony and rub her statue for good luck; stroll across the Ponte Pietra bridge to admire the views over the Adige River; visit the remains of a 3rd-century Roman gate at the historic Porta Borsari; visit the statue of famed poet Dante Alighieri in the Piazza dei Signori; or marvel at the crumbling but still functional Arena di Verona, an enormous Roman amphitheatre dating back 2,000 years and still boasting the largest opera stage in the world. The best time to visit the Arena is during the 'lyrical season', in the summer, where operas take place inside this ancient theatre on balmy summer nights.
The areas surrounding Verona provide some of Italy's most breathtaking scenery. Wine-lovers will not want to miss out on a trip to Valpolicella or Soave; while nearby Lake Garda to the west of Verona is a popular tourist destination, whose shores are home to a number of exclusive hotels and resorts.
After a long day of enjoying the romance, history and splendour of the city of Verona, climb the steps on the hill above the Roman Amphitheatre to the Castell San Pietro (St Peter's Castle) for spectacular views over the city - the perfect setting for a romantic sunset picnic.
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